Motley Theatre Design Course is London’s leading international independent postgraduate course in set and costume design, founded by Margaret Harris (“Percy”) in 1966. In 1992, Alison Chitty OBE joined Motley as joint Course Leader with Percy, who remained at Motley until a few months before her death in 2000.

Percy and Alison (with the help of other dedicated teachers) have taught 450 students between them. Motley has always kept in good touch with all its alumni: every summer, Percy would sit down and write to each one of her students asking them what they had been up to. As Miki van Zwanenberg (Group 2) remembers “Percy seemed to be able to find people by osmosis!” The result was a ‘wall’ of news which was a major feature of the graduation exhibition. This annual tradition continues until this day.

In November 2010, Alison, together with her colleagues Ashley Martin-Davies and Catrin Martin, announced their decision to step down from running the school. You can read both their statement and the Chairman’s subsequent letter. The future of this historic school is uncertain and it now faces possible closure; the Trustees plan to meet in January 2011.

The alumni and friends of Motley Theatre Design Course have been registering their support for both the school and the task facing the Trustees by joining the Save Motley Theatre Design Course Facebook page. You can find out more how to help here.

Renowned Motley Alumni include: Paul Brown, Alexandra Byrne, Tom Cairns, Frank Conway, Kandis Cook, Es Devlin, Maria Djurkovic, Hayden Griffin, Penny Hadrill, Jeremy Herbert, Gemma Jackson, Anthony McDonald, David Short, Ultz, Brien Vahey, Neil Warmington. The complete list can be read here.

Motley Alumni have designed for theatres and companies all over the world. We have started a list of them here.